Cabanatuan farmer takes limelight at city hall

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    CABANATUAN CITY – In the middle of white collar government employees, a farmer snatched the limelight.

    Eduardo Policarpio, a farmer from Barangay Palagay here, got the spotlight recently when he received a trophy from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) for being adjudged as the country’s Ulirang Magsasaka, Gawad Pitak 2013.

    The award which comes with a cash prize of P100,000 was to Policarpio by Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, LBP representative Eduardo Reyes, and officials of the  Cabanatuan City Agriculture and Livelihood Management Office (CALMO).

    “The award is aimed at recognizing the best farmer cooperatives, farmers and fishermen and Mr. Policarpio was adjudged the best farmer nationwide by the Land Bank,” Reyes said.

    But Policarpio, who was tilling only three hectares of ricefield, shared a simple formula that gave him honors in the field. “Keep in touch with government agencies concerning agriculture and embrace technology,” he said.

    He also advised fellow farmers not to limit themselves to rice planting.

    “We have to diversify,” he said. “I plant vegetables and other crops as well as some mango trees in my small property,” he added.

    He was proud that by tilling a three-hectare land, all his three children are now in college. “Parang hindi mo magagawa  pero nasa kolehiyo sila lahat ngayon,” he said.

    Ulirang Magsasaka, Gawad Pitak 2013 was the latest in a string of recognitions Policarpio has earned in farming. His farming technique was first recognized when he was dubbed Top Yielder of Hybrid Meztizo in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon in 2003.

    In 2005, Policarpio was named Outstanding Farmer by a private hybrid seeds producer that was followed by an Achiever’s Award by the Central Luzon State University-Alumni Association, Inc.

    In 2006, Policarpio was again named Top Yielder of Hybrid Rice Program by the Department of Agriculture and Butil Partylist; Natatanging Magsasaka by Butil Coop Bank in 2009; Highest Yielder Hybrid Rice in Cabanatuan City in 2010 and Outstanding Hybrid Rice Farmer of Nueva Ecija-Office of the Provincial Agriculturist in 2011.

    Also in 2011, he was recognized as Natatanging Magsasaka ng Dekada by the city government of Cabanatuan and Outstanding Hybrid Rice Farmer , Gawad Saka by the DA-regional Field Office 3 (Central Luzon).

    Vergara lauded Policarpio as a pride of the city.

    Vergara has said the city still plays a role in rice production with 8,609 hectares of irrigated land, 6,302 hectares rain-fed and 1,891 hectares planted to cash crops.

    According to CALMO, Policarpio has managed to increase his production from 192 cavans per hectare to 316 cavans per hectare in hybrid and from 140 cavans per hectare to 222 cavans per hectare of inbred seeds.

    “Kailangan lang talaga maging masikap at magbabahagi ka rin ng iyong kaalaman sa kapwa mo magsasaka.

    Malaki ang nagagawa ng palitan ng kaalaman sa sarili mo at sa komunidad,” Policarpio who was also noted for his strong participation in the undertakings of farmer’s cooperative, stressed.

    CALMO officials said Policarpio was formally recognized in the 50th LBP anniversary on Aug. 8 but bank and agriculture officials decided to hold ceremonial awarding at the city hall for the benefit of local farmers themselves.

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